Well, now you actually can.
A number of universities around America have developed extensive craft brewing programs that educate students and prepare them for the craft business in the real world. Due to the rapid increase in popularity of craft beer, employers are seeking out individuals who truly understand the science and business behind brewing. They are actually running out of knowledgeable employees, and they need more people that are professionally trained. However, students are also very eager to learn all about the industry. I mean, majoring in craft brewing, who wouldn’t want to sign up for that?
The very first college to start their own craft-brewing program was the University of California-Davis. Since 1958, they have offered a bachelors and a masters in craft brewing. They teach you everything you need to know, from the types raw materials to use to brew your beer to the type of glass you pour it in. The program is so popular right now there is a two-year waiting list to enroll. Students who receive their certification after the program go on to work for companies like Amheuser-Busch, Miller-Coors, and Sierra Nevada.
Oregon State University also offers the same type of program, but they also focus on creating innovation in the field by attempting to discover the new hit flavor. They encourage students to conduct their own scientific experiments to create new tastes and aromas. Though it is a research university, the school wants students to not only study the beer, but also live it. They believe that it is not enough to just learn about the industry and the brewing process in order to build a successful career. You have to have a background in science as well as experience in physically crafting your own ales. They have access to many labs and facilities that can provide all types of information on the contents of your beer. Local breweries are also invited to come to the school; they teach and ask students to taste and give feedback on their new brews.
While California-Davis and Oregon State focus on the science and fermentation behind brewing, Central Washington University and Appalachian State University not only focus on that, but they also make sure to grasp the business side of brewing. Students are taught how to brew their own potions as well as how to build and position a successful brand. They introduce students to the threats and difficulties involved in managing a craft business while also teaching them how to act like a professional in the field.
Lastly, San Diego State University’s beer program is somewhat different in that it emphasizes business management over brewing. Instead of trying to capture all aspects of the beer industry, San Diego state decided to focus on one. Most of their students are individuals who already have a grasp on how to craft their own beer; however, they don’t have the necessary credentials and education to bring their passion for beer to the next level. San Diego State improves students’ entrepreneurial skills and their knowledge of the market, that way they can open up their own craft business without struggle. They also include courses on how to pair food with your beer.
Each program provides students with the means to start a successful career in craft brewing. As soon as you walk out of any of these schools’ programs, you will immediately become an asset to any employer in the industry. So, bring your beer from the frats over to the classroom and take advantage of the craft movement while there’s still so much innovation to be done.